Sunday, March 9, 2014

day 34: Pacific Coast Highway and Redwood National Park

Today we were awakened by someone loading their boat into the ocean - about 20 feet from our tent.  It's not every day that you can say that.  So we broke camp, paid our camp fee and got on the road.  The woman who owned the campground recommended sticky buns from Two Fish Bakery, 25 minutes down the road so we held off on our granola bars and waited for breakfast.  Delicious sticky buns, indeed!  One of the best pastries I've ever eaten!  I'm so glad we drove there and got them.  We both got a treat for later because everything in the bakery looked so wonderful. 

 Our campsite on the beach

Another view from out campsite

We continued to drive CA Hwy 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) for a long time.  What a gorgeous drive!  The ocean to your left and mountains and forests to your right. We stopped at a few places along the way to take pictures.  We ended the PCH drive by stopping by the "World Famous Drive-Thru Tree".  It was pretty cool to be able to drive through a huge tree.  I think the name of it was Chandelier Tree. 

View of the Pacific Coast

John and the Pacific coast

There were tons of cows grazing near the coast

The Drive-Thru Tree

Once we were done with our tourist attraction we started to head towards Redwood National Park.  We opted to take the scenic alternative, The Avenue of the Giants, to get there.  It's basically a road that runs parallel to Highway 101 but there are tons of huge Redwoods lining the road.  Gorgeous!  It is unreal how huge these trees are!  John continued to drive and we ended up at Redwood National Park, the visitor's center was very clean and well taken care of.  I noticed that everything was more coastal than I had imagined this part of CA to be.  When I think Redwood I think big trees, not big trees and right by the coast, but it was, so that was really cool.  We told the ranger we really only had time to drive through the park, not stop a lot, so he recommended some especially scenic routes and we were on our way!

Me standing next to the bottom of a Redwood tree

An old touring bus made out of a Redwood. This bus was used by people to tour around the country so they could promote national parks.

Look at the van at the bottom of the picture for a reference to how huge the tree is!

Just me and a Redwood tree

A view from a scenic route in Redwood NP

Some people were whale watching from this view point, we looked but didn't see any

What a beautiful park!  I mean, they've all been beautiful but the trees were just so magnificent and enormous!  It was much more lush than we'd expected.  Plants were everywhere, all over the park floor - undergrowth and whatnot.  There were times it reminded us of forests in TN and others it just looked downright tropical.  It was so beautiful, we were really happy we chose to go through this park.  Then the last drive through the park was a section called Jedidiah Smith State Park (Redwood is a combination of national and state parks, and little towns are mingled in throughout - unlike the other parks we visited).  When we got to Jedidiah it was like we had entered another world, or a movie set at the very least.  You drive down an unpaved, basically one lane road.  And we thought we had seen lush earlier, this was like 10 times more lush, it looked like a tropical rainforest!  John joked that we were in Jurassic Park but it really looked like it, it was incredible!  We took a lot of pictures of the trees, one where we held hands and the tree was still wider than the span of our arms.  Another, we practically crawled and stood in the trunk of one tree.  So beautiful. 

 Our car in Jedidiah State Park/Jurassic Park

The tree was still wider

John inside a tree

This is a panoramic shot standing between two Redwoods, it spans the base of one tree all the way up and over to the base of the other tree

We were very happy we took that drive, it adds a whole other dimension to the park.  After that we were done in Redwood and it was on to Oregon!  Basically we just drove in the direction of Crater Lake, got to our hotel and checked in for the night.  We'd been up since 6:45 a.m. so come 10:30 p.m. we were pretty exhausted!

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